I was watching Up With Chris Hayes this past weekend and he had some interesting topics for discussion including the latest round of Republican debates, fracking and the border. I’ll save the topic of fracking and the documentary Gasland for another post. I want to focus for the moment on presidential politics.
Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico was one of the guests on the show. He is a Republican candidate for President and has been virtually ignored by the national media. He has been excluded from all of the debates save one, for reasons that are not altogether clear. What is clear is that he has a few reasonable ideas that are worth discussing, but won’t be discussed because his views don’t align well with the Tea Party or social ultra conservatives. He favors open borders, and a guest worker program for immigrants. In true libertarian fashion, Johnson favors legalizing marijuana, arguing that to do so would take the criminal element out of it, and allow the government to regulate and tax it like it does alcohol and tobacco. On foreign policy, he advocates bringing the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. On other issues, however, he sounds very much like the standard Republican – reduce taxes and reduce government spending on entitlement programs.
As a Democrat, I don’t endorse him, but I don’t understand why Republicans haven’t embraced him because he is more electable than the other candidates. Instead, the Party prefers candidates with exteeeeeme positions (Bachmann and Paul) and controversial personalities with no experience and vague ideas (Cain) or the professorial type (Gingrich) whose Contract for America in the 90’s was more like a Contract on America, or the monied type (Romney) with more flip flops in a year than a regular beachgoer will own in a lifetime, or the goofy Rick P. Gov. Perry of Texas who has had some of the most stunningly bad public performances of any candidate in the history of politics.
But Seriously, Folks (a great album by former Eagles guitarist, Joe Walsh, not the politician by the same name) Can’t You See (a great song by the Marshall Tucker Band) that none of these weak Republican candidates stand a chance of defeating President Obama who has one of the lowest approval ratings of any President in recent times. If the Republicans continue to pander to the narrow social interests of ultra conservative voters or the interests of corporate America as espoused by the Tea Party, they will lose a significant portion of the power they gained in the 2010 midterm elections and squander away the chance to privatize the country.
As an Obama supporter, it’s not in my best interests or the interest of the country for me to give Republicans advice, but they really should take a look at Gary Johnson. He’s not nearly as cooky as Perry; not as dangerous as Bachmann; much more consistent than Mitt; far more experienced than Cain; less divisive than Newt; more electable than Paul; more likeable than Santorum and more libertarian than Huntsman, to give him some credibility with the Tea Party.
I hope nobody is reading this, but if you are, don’t spread the word!